Judi Dench, Imelda Staunton, Francesca Annis and Julia McKenzie return in this drama based on the novels by Elizabeth Gaskell. Miss Matty's house is full of life and bustle. Her dream of having a child in the house has been realized in the birth of Tilly, daughter of her maid Martha and carpenter Jem. Elsewhere, the shadow of the railway still looms, but the line has been halted five miles outside of Cranford - a disaster as far as Captain Brown is concerned. Meanwhile, as Mr. Buxton returns to town with his son, William, and his niece, Erminia. Miss Matty becomes concerned about another young person - Peggy Bell - who lives in an isolated cottage with her mother & domineering brother. She decides to intervene.